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Downtown Greenspace
Photo by Brent Tennyson

Hill checking items off list

By Leigh Anne Butler

The city of Tallassee has several projects that are now completed or nearing completion. The Tallassee Sewage Disposal Lagoon project and the Benjamin Fitzpatrick Bridge project are both complete. The Downtown Cityscape project is expected to be completed within the next month.

Critical infrastructure upgrades and improvements were needed to the city’s sewage lagoon. “We were under consent order to get this project done,” Sarah Hill, Tallassee mayor stated. “The sewer improvement project is functionally complete. We got a report from ADEM the other day about our municipal water pollutants, and we are good.”

“We got some of the funding from grants and then we got the remaining funding from the state revolving fund loan,” Hill continued.

The total cost of the project was $4.9 million. “There is about $2.5 million the city is going to have to pay back so that is why you see an increase on your sewer rates because we have to pay those bonds back.”

“I’ve actually heard from a couple of different development opportunities that might be coming to Tallassee,” Hill elaborated. “We have a lot of capacity. With increased sewer potential we have increased potential for commercial and residential development.”

The $3.5 million Benjamin Fitzpatrick Bridge project began in April of 2023. It included painting and maintenance work to the 1940 structure.

“It looks great,” Hill said enthusiastically. “What they did with the sidewalks looks wonderful. I’m happy that it is done and that everyone is able to cross and no longer have to wait in long lines anymore.”

The Downtown Streetscape project is nearing completion. The project included replacing outdated utilities and installing new, wider handicap accessible sidewalks, handrails, lighting and asphalt to enhance safety and mobility in the downtown area.

“You’ve been seeing the handrails and ramps coming up and we’ve put some of the greenery in,” Hill elaborated.

“The council voted a couple of council meetings ago to extend that concrete sidewalk past the Tiger Paw all the way down to the barber shop. We did apply for a couple of different asphalt grants and did not get funded by those this year, so the council is going to take the money from our American Rescue Plan Act funds to finish up that asphalt.”

“Everything is cohesive. It makes downtown look like we have this plan that we’re moving forward with. Hopefully, this will allow everyone to move around downtown more freely. This has made (the area) more walkable, more approachable, and hopefully more investible for private businesses,” Hill concluded.